From Alaskan Cruises to Antarctica, Voyages are a Way to See the World

October 2, 2019 |

From Alaskan cruises to South American cruises to cruises to Antarctica, there are more ways to set sail than ever before. Here, we highlight the world of intriguing North and South America cruising options available to travelers. 

alaskan cruise

Why Cruise? How Setting Sail Makes for a Great Getaway

Before diving into the various cruising options out there, it’s worth reviewing what makes cruising attractive to so many travelers. 

  • Cruises are great for people of all ages.
  • Voyages provide fantastic value, fun and entertainment.
  • They offer an ideal blend of excitement and relaxation.
  • Cruises are an excellent way to introduce yourself to international destinations you may want to visit exclusively on a future trip.

That last point is worth expanding on; whether you want to take a cruise to Antarctica, follow in Charles Darwin’s steps with a Galapagos cruise, venture into the heart of darkness on an Amazon river cruise or see the world on a transatlantic cruise, sea voyages are a great way to see the world. 

Every port of call offers an opportunity to encounter new cultures and landscapes. Best of all, once you’re aboard and unpacked, you’re ready to go. Your connections are handled, food is provided and entertainment and activity options are at your beck and call. 

Even at sea, cruise ships abound with new and exciting activities, including:

  • Classes
  • Shopping
  • Shows
  • Games
  • Gyms, pools and spas
  • Rock climbing walls, surfriders, waterslides and more
  • Movie theaters, live entertainment, bars and eateries

From hourly activities, to a leisurely day of sunbathing or snoozing by the pool, cruises accommodate every style and preference. Depending on what kind of experience you want, you can be one of many cruisers aboard a floating metropolis, or one of an intimate group of travelers sailing the rivers of the world.

Alaskan Cruises, New England Cruises, South America Cruises and More

Once you begin browsing the ocean of options available to would-be cruisers today, you’ll quickly see there’s a cruise for just about every destination and an experience to satisfy nearly every itinerary.

When it comes to visiting North and South America, Alaskan cruises, New England cruises and South America cruises abound with choices. Virtuoso Voyages offer a collection of the best cruise experiences in the world, with add-ons and options that make ideal vacations. Some of the exclusive amenities our experienced travel advisors book include:

  • Private car and driver in port
  • Behind-the-scenes tours
  • Specialty dining options
  • Shipboard and spa treatment credits
  • Custom and private shore tours

For history buffs, New England cruises are an unforgettable way to experience colonial America and retrace the ports and places present during the revolutionary period. Alaskan cruises put amazing views of glaciers, whales and other wildlife within reach; Canadian river cruises are a unique way to discover the waters of North America. 

If sailing south sounds sweet, an Amazon river cruise won’t disappoint. See the tip of the world with a cruise to Antarctica, or discover the ancient ruins of the Incas on a South America cruise. 

Whatever is on your bucket list, a cruise is a wonderful way to see it. Get help planning the cruise of a lifetime with Virtuoso. Contact one of our travel advisors to start turning your travel dreams into reality.

European Cruises and European River Cruises: Five Great Options

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European Cruises and European River Cruises: Five Great Options

The most difficult aspect of European cruises is deciding which part of Europe you want to see. European cruises can be broken down into two main types: Mediterranean cruises and European river cruises.

Here, we share some of the best European cruises for travelers to consider. 

 

European Cruises and European River Cruises: Five Great Options

What makes European cruises so appealing is their variety. A western Mediterranean cruise takes you to cities like Barcelona, Rome and Monaco. Eastern Mediterranean cruises meanwhile, expose you to ports of call that include Croatia, Greece, Turkey and Israel. 

 

1. See the Greek Isles on an Eastern Mediterranean Cruise.

If you loved Mamma Mia or have a burning desire to sip a glance of wine by the sea in Santorini, an eastern Mediterranean cruise can take you there. Choose from larger ships that visit ports along the coast or take a smaller cruise line into the heart of the Greek Islands. 

 

2. Explore England with a European River Cruise.

Some of the best European cruises are river cruises that begin and end in the British Isles. From Southampton to London to the cliffs of Dover, a British Isles cruise is a great way to experience the castles, coasts and cities of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales.

 

3. Discover Hidden Gems on a Western Mediterranean Cruise.

A western Mediterranean cruise is an excellent way to explore ports of call that might not be tourist hotspots, but do allow for a less crowded experience of western Europe. Ports of call may include Vigo in Spain, Brest in France, Le Havre in Amsterdam, Bruges in Belgium, and Hamburg in Germany.

 

4. Sail Norwegian Fjords.

A northern European river cruise is a great way to let go of the ordinary and experience the breathtaking waterfalls and inlets of this water-loving land. From metropolitan centers like Oslo to more remote ports like Bergen, Alesund and Olden, you can enjoy everything from hiking a glacier to eating whale meat for breakfast.

 

5. Sail Across the Sea on a Canary Islands Cruise

Start in the U.K. or Spain and sail across the sea to the Canary Islands, a Spanish archipelago, nestled off the coast of Africa. There, visit exotic islands like Tenerife, Lanzarote, Gran Canaria, La Palma and Madeira.  

 

Let an Experienced Travel Advisor Plan Your European Cruise

Whether you want to float down the rivers of Europe or explore historical sights along the Mediterranean Sea, our experienced travel advisors are here to help you plan the European vacation of a lifetime. 

Contact us today to start planning your next getaway!

Top Overseas Adventure Travel Tours and Destinations

September 25, 2019 |

overseas adventure travel tours and destinations

Does your idea of a dream vacation involve traveling to remote or exotic destinations where you can challenge yourself physically while exploring cultures different than your own? 

Does experiencing this type of trip with a small group of like-minded people sound even better than going it solo?

If so, overseas adventure travel tours may provide the ideal getaway for you. 

 

Could overseas adventure travel tours be right for you?

Our experienced travel advisors help people plan unforgettable adventure trips all the time and know which destinations and adventure travel tour groups provide the best experience for each traveler. 

Whether or not you’ll enjoy an overseas adventure travel tour depends on what you’re looking for in a vacation. If you answer ‘yes’ to these questions, adventure travel could be right for you:

  • Do you think of nature as a playground?
  • Do you enjoy getting dirty, sweaty and physically spent?
  • Do you feel restored, refreshed or rejuvenated after hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking or trail running?
  • Does a certain amount of uncertainty excite you?
  • Do you value stepping outside your daily routine and culture to reflect on life?

If you agree with Mark Twain, who wrote, “What is it that confers the noblest delight? …Discovery! To know that you are walking where none others have walked; that you are beholding what human eye has not see before; that you are breathing a virgin atmosphere,” then you may be an adventurer at heart.

 

Top Overseas Adventure Travel Tours and Destinations

Adventure travel tours spark wonder and satisfy the craving for discovery by connecting wanderlust with opportunities to exercise it. These adventure travel tours and destinations are some of the best options for adventurers:

  • G Adventures — Travel advisor JoAnna Gonseth shared about her incredible experience exploring Peru with this top overseas adventure travel tour company.
  • Remote Lands — From private jet trips to niche-focused itineraries, Remote Lands is one of the best ways to explore Asia and beyond. 
  • Quark Expeditions — Specializing in Artic and Antarctic adventures, Quark is your ticket to exploring unforgettable fjords, glaciers and wildlife in some of the most extreme environments on earth.  

 

Top Overseas Adventure Travel Destinations

We’ve talked about adventure destinations on the blog before and offered a number of excellent options that include:

This list just scratches the surface. The best way to make sure you choose the right destination for your adventure travel tour is to work with an experienced travel advisor who understands your goals and preferences and can design the perfect vacation to meet them.

Planning an adventure travel vacation? Let us help you find the ideal escorted tour company to explore your overseas adventure travel dreams. Contact us today to start planning!

Escorted Travel Tours — Are They Right for You?

September 18, 2019 |

Escorted Travel Tours — Are They Right For You?

Travel Advisors Discuss the Benefits of Escorted Travel Tours

 

For many travelers, escorted travel tours, or group travel tours, are popular and satisfying ways to see the world, but how can you know if an escorted tour is right for you? We asked our experienced travel advisors to weigh in on the best-escorted tour companies and the benefits of group travel tours.

Elsewhere, we defined what escorted tours are and talked about some of the benefits of guided group travel. We shared that escorted tours led by knowledgeable local guides deliver an immersive experience that make travelers feel less like tourists and more like global citizens.

Here, we’re diving deeper into the topic of escorted travel tours to understand what kind of travelers they’re best for and what makes them shine. Two of our experienced travel advisors, Kim Gahm (Northern California) and Naomi Sucha (Omaha, Nebraska HQ), share who escorted tours are right for and how they find the best escorted tour companies for customers. 

 

Who are escorted travel tours best for?

According to both Kim and Naomi, almost anyone! Couples, solo travelers, and families can all benefit from an escorted tour — the true benefit of this type of trip is that it’s hassle-free with almost everything included, which holds broad appeal.

Naomi also noted that travelers looking for an in-depth experience, easy transfers between different locations, and the opportunity to meet new people along the way might be interested in escorted tours.  

 

What do you look for in a top escorted tour company?

While it depends on the wants, needs and budget of the traveler, Naomi advises the important things to pay attention to include the itinerary — does it fit what you’re looking for? How much sightseeing is included? — how large the group is, and how many meals are included.

Kim adds that the number of companies out there are practically endless — in other words, there’s something for just about every client’s needs, whether you’re a solo traveler, budget-minded, looking for luxury, traveling with your family or a group, or interested in trends such as adventure travel or ecotourism. 

 

Where are the best destinations for escorted or group travel tours?

Naomi didn’t limit her answer to just one destination. “I think everywhere!” she said.

And while the destination opportunities really are endless, Kim provided a couple of go-to spots that are popular with travelers who enjoy these kinds of travel tours.

“Anywhere you would like to go to be immersed in the local culture,” she said. “Europe, South America, Asia, Australia, Africa, India. There are even great escorted tours closer to home in Canada and the US.”

 

How does the presence of a knowledgeable local guide impact the overall escorted travel experience?

According to both Kim and Naomi, a knowledgeable, local guide is, “essential!”

“The guides are the best and most important part of an escorted vacation,” says Kim. “Guides offer a wealth of knowledge on their country, culture and community. They also provide safe, enjoyable and fun travel experiences along the way.”

If that doesn’t say it all, we don’t know what does.

 

Are you planning a getaway? Do it the easy way — with the expert insight and connections of an experienced travel advisor. Our professional travel advisors are ready to help you plan an unforgettable escorted travel tour today!

Planning a Vacation? Discover the Benefits of Escorted Tours

September 11, 2019 |

Escorted tours are a popular way to explore new destinations and pursue dream vacations. However, it’s important to use knowledgeable guides who are thoroughly familiar with the local areas you’re visiting. 

If you’re considering travel tours as part of your next vacation, here are a few things to know about escorted tours before you go. 

 

What Are Escorted Tours?

Whether you’re dreaming about train journeys in Europe, safaris in Africa or a multi-country trek across Asia, escorted tours can be an enjoyable way to explore new destinations. What sets escorted tours apart are the guides who lead them. 

Our experienced travel advisors recommend travel tours from the best-escorted tour companies that feature knowledgeable local guides. This can make the difference between a lackluster tour that doesn’t provide much information beyond what you could glean on your own versus an escorted tour that shines with hidden tidbits and tiny details you never would have discovered on your own.

The top escorted tours let you experience a destination by immersing you in its local culture. The result of a good escorted tour is that at the end of your trip, you feel more like a global citizen and less like a tourist.  

 

Who Are Escorted Tours Right For?

Beyond local insight, escorted tours typically include all the flights, hotels/lodging arrangements, transportation transfers, most meals and much of the sightseeing opportunities. Basically, an escorted tour takes all the hassle and stress of making connections and planning decisions in a foreign place off your plate.

With the planning taken care of, you can focus on exploring and finding adventure every day. 

If you are interested in a vacation that takes you to multiple destinations with stays of generally two to three days at each location, an escorted tour may be right for you. Our travel advisors can talk through your travel goals and arrange the perfect escorted tour or another type of travel experience for you. 

 

Why Make Escorted Tours Part of Your Vacation?

Similar to a cruise, escorted tours allow you to take in the sights and sounds of multiple destinations. Instead of a long stay in just one place, escorted tours expose you to places you may decide to visit again on their own for a longer period of time. 

Escorted tours are usually faster-paced and take care of all the coordination and transportation details for you. This allows you the freedom to enjoy your vacation without worrying about getting yourself and everyone in your party where they need to be at the right time and with the proper documents, payments and other requirements. 

The best escorted tour companies, like the ones we work with, can also incorporate some free time or unscheduled time throughout the trip for you to explore destinations you find particularly interesting on your own. Sometimes, this is as simple as an afternoon free to shop or sightsee in the particular neighborhoods of your choosing; or having an evening free to try a new restaurant that sounds uniquely appealing to your party. 

 

How Can You Find the Top Group Travel Tours from the Best Escorted Tour Companies?

The best way to ensure you choose an escorted tour that delivers the dream vacation you’re looking for is to work with an experienced travel advisor who only recommends escorted tour companies that utilize knowledgeable local guides.

Are you planning a vacation? Get the expert assistance of someone with the experience and contacts to plan the perfect itinerary. Contact one of our experienced travel advisors today to begin planning your escorted tour vacation!

Luxury Travel Tips: When to Start Planning a Luxury Vacation

September 4, 2019 |

Luxury Travel Tips: When to Start Planning a Luxury Vacation

Luxury travel is all about you. Your dreams. Your unique style. Your passion for experiencing the world in exquisite and breathtaking form. Still, luxury vacations and experiential travel don’t just happen. It takes the insight and taste of a travel advisor skilled in planning upscale travel to make it all fall in place.

We asked our travel advisors common questions people have when planning luxury travel, like, “How far out should I book a luxury vacation?,” “When do you start planning luxury trips?” and, “What are some of the best luxury travel destinations?” so you can benefit from their experience planning luxury vacations for clients.

 

Luxury Travel Tips: When to Start Planning a Luxury Vacation

Travel advisor Lisa Salloum is a luxury travel specialist with years of experience planning unforgettable luxury vacations for clients. Here are her thoughts on some of the most common luxury vacation questions travelers ask.

 

What are some of the best luxury travel resorts or destinations?

“Some of the best luxury vacations take travelers to places they’ve never been before but have always wanted to visit; “bucket list” type of destinations. Personally, my favorite spots to coordinate upscale travel to include Africa, Thailand and the English countryside. The exact location really depends on what the individual traveler wants to experience. There are gems in almost every country!”

 

When should you start planning a luxury vacation?

I’ve booked luxury vacations with only a month’s notice for clients. However, the more time I have to perform advanced planning definitely affords me time to work on preparing some really special moments. The more I know about my client’s particular experiential travel interests, the better luxury trip I am able to set up.”

 

How far out should you book luxury travel?

“Similar to what I shared in my previous response, luxury vacations are maximized when you have more, as opposed to less, time to plan them. Still, luxury trips of all kinds and upscale travel to many destinations can be arranged in as little as one month’s time.”

 

What are some of the common pitfalls travelers should avoid when it comes to luxury travel?

“Some travelers want to book some components of luxury trips on their own, but this can cause issues when trying to create a seamless flow. As an experienced luxury travel agent, I’ve learned missteps to avoid that someone trying to book luxury travel for the first time might easily overlook. For example, overlooking a local holiday can surprise people and lead to a situation where there is no space to stay at a desired resort or enjoy a particular luxury experience. 

“I think it’s also important for travelers to share as much about their personality and preferences as possible with the travel advisor planning their luxury vacation. The more information I have, the better able I am to curate truly amazing experiences.”

 

What are the benefits of working with a travel advisor to plan luxury trips?

“(At Travel and Transport), we have some terrific connections throughout the world to assist travelers and help them enjoy amazing experiences everywhere their luxury vacation takes them. We also have access to special perks that allow us to expose travelers to unforgettable experiences they may not have otherwise known about. Curating incredible luxury vacations is what we do best!”

Adventure Through the Andes: Travel to Peru Takes Advisor on an Unforgettable Quest

August 28, 2019 |

Travel to Peru Takes Advisor on an Unforgettable Quest

Deciding to travel to Peru with G Adventures / National Geographic Journeys was one of the best travel decisions travel advisor JoAnna Gonseth has made. Adventure trips aren’t new to Gonseth, who loves exploring unique destinations. 

A native of upstate New York, Gonseth loves hiking through wooded areas and usually travels independently. Opting to travel to Peru with a group, as part of a Peru tour through G Adventures was a first, but definitely a choice she would make again. 

Here, Gonseth describes what it was like to travel to Peru, including what she learned and what she loved.

 

Travel Advisor Dishes on Peruvian Cuisine and Other Standout Experiences From Her Decision to Travel to Peru

How would you describe your trip to Peru in three or four words?

“Breathtaking. Legendary. Life-changing.”

 

What stands out about your trip to Peru?

“So many things. First of all, the cuisine. It was excellent. Absolutely everything was five-star, farm to table, organic and delicious. Every place we ate provided full service. From soups and appetizers to fish, steak and alpaca, the food was really great. 

Our G Adventure tour provided flexibility and structure so that we had freedom to try a few places on our own but also eat as a group. We even took a cooking class where we toured the local market to select our food, purchased the items and cooked the meal. 

One thing that stood out to me about Peruvian food besides its incredible flavor and freshness was the size of the corn. A single kernel was easily five times the size of a kernel of the Nebraska corn I’m used to seeing grown on farms back home. We learned through our tour guides that many things are grown in the mountains and sent down to Lima.

One of my favorite stops was taking a trip to the highlands of the sacred valley and meeting people who live in a village in the mountainous region. G Adventures partners with the Planeterra Foundation, an organization that focuses on helping local communities. In the part of Peru we visited, we met people from the rural community of Pampallaqta in Parque de la Papa (Potato Park), where they grow about 1,300 of Peru’s 3,000+ potato varieties. We learned about the importance of potato cultivation, how they weave local textiles and hand-dye lama and alpaca fur and the importance of both to Andean culture. The village was struggling before G Adventures and Planeterra got involved in bringing tourists up to learn about how the indigenous people there live. 

Just to hear them speaking in their native tongue to our guide, who would translate for us, was so very moving. Many tourists were moved to tears by this experience and it remains one of my highlights of the trip, which is incredible considering I also toured the Machu Picchu ruins and Aguas Calientes Hot Springs.”

 

Speaking of touring ruins of ancient civilizations, are there any Machu Picchu tours or Peru tours in general you recommend?

“Yes. G Adventures offers wonderful Machu Picchu tours. They include almost everything, but still leave some free time open for independent exploration. The tour I took — Explore Machu Picchu — included everything except tips for the drivers and guide, some lunches and dinners and minimal optional tour entry fees. With the money exchange rate in my favor, even purchasing the non-included items kept the cost reasonable. 

While we traveled to the Pisac ruins and the Ollantaytambo ruins, the Machu Picchu ruins were the main highlight of the entire trip and one of the main reasons I wanted to travel to Peru in the first place. Seeing the Lost City of the Incas up close was incredible!

The views and weather were perfect, making every single angle a perfect photo opportunity.”  

 

When is the best time to visit Peru?

“Peru has two seasons — wet and dry. The dry season is the best time to see Machu Picchu. The land turns green and warm in the wet season, making it an ideal time to surf and enjoy other water activities in lima. The best time to visit Peru really comes down to what your travel goals are and what you want to see. An experienced travel advisor can help you determine when the best time to travel to Peru is to see and do everything on your list.”

 

What is your advice for others who want to travel to Peru?

“I would highly recommend working with an experienced travel advisor to plan your trip to Peru. Someone who can help you select the perfect tour or plan the ideal itinerary for your vacation. There are just so many things you may not be aware of or account for when you plan entirely on your own.

“For example, the language was surprising to me. English is really not spoken in Peru. You need to speak Spanish and have the proper Peruvian currency. It’s not like traveling to tourist areas in Mexico where English is spoken. Tour guides speak English, Spanish and Quechua, the main indigenous language there. Without a guide who speaks all three, you’ll miss out on so much. 

“I’m an independent traveler and enjoy exploring on my own. However, G Adventures’ focus on smaller groups and an immersive, local experience was really eye-opening and enjoyable. I don’t know if I would adventure travel without them again. It was that good of an experience. 

“Beyond that, the simple conveniences of having your transportation arranged ahead of time and knowing that your hotel, tours and flights are all arranged for you, takes so much stress out of the trip. These are all benefits of working with a travel advisor. The reasonable fee for their time is well worth the value you enjoy while you’re on vacation. They can also help you decide what to ax from your potential itinerary and what to keep. In Peru, this is particularly important as it’s hard to accurately gauge the distance between locations and how long it takes to get from one tour stop to another until you’ve been there. It’d be very easy to plan more than you would comfortably be able to see in a day or a week without the assistance of an experienced travel advisor.”

 

Are you planning a trip to Peru? Get the expert assistance of someone who has been there and can help you plan the perfect itinerary. Contact JoAnna or one of our other experienced travel advisors today to begin planning your Peruvian vacation!

The Best Time to Visit South Africa and South America

August 21, 2019 |

The Best Time to Visit South Africa and South America

Surprisingly, the answer to when is the best time to visit South Africa and the best time to visit South America is exactly the same. 

It depends on where, specifically, you want to go within these vast, beautiful and diverse continents. The best time to visit South Africa or South America depends as well on what you want to do while you are there.

 

Is going on an African safari one of your lifelong dreams?

Our experienced travel advisors will tell you that the best months, generally speaking, for an African safari are September through October and March through April when temperatures aren’t quite so hot. 

 

Have you always wanted to celebrate Carnival in Rio de Janeiro?

If so, then the best time to visit Brazil is late February, when the famous festival is held. 

Whether you’re trying to find the best time to go to Africa or the best time to visit South America, the first step is to narrow down which country or countries, in particular, you want to visit. 

 

Best Time to Visit South Africa and South America

As we’ve covered, there’s no one best time to visit Africa or South America. Working with an experienced travel advisor is a great way to make sure you take your vacation at the ideal time. 

Our travel advisors have taken safaris and traveled throughout South America. They travel extensively so they can draw on firsthand experience to help you plan your dream vacation. They know not only the best time to go on an African safari but also the best places to take them. They also know the best time to visit South America, in part because they’ve been there, and in part, because they’ve been helping people plan dream vacations for decades. 

Here are some of their recommendations on the best time to visit South America and the best time to visit Africa:

  • Best time to visit South Africa: While South Africa is a year-round destination, like the rest of the continent, its seasons are opposite of North America’s. Fall is March through May and spring is September through November. The best time to visit South Africa comes down to what you want to do while you are there.
  • Best time to go on an African safari: Tanzania, Kenya, South Africa, Botswana and Zambia are all popular places to go on an African safari, but when you go makes a difference in what kind and how many animals you’ll see. August through October tend to be productive months, but working with an experienced travel advisor is the best way to narrow down the exact location and time to see the kind of animals you most want to observe.
  • Best time to see Zimbabwe: If you love wildflowers and want to take in all the flora Zimbabwe has to offer, December to May are the best months to visit.
  • Best time to visit Brazil: Outside of late February, which is the time to go to the Rio Carnival, best times to visit Brazil include April to June and August to October, when the weather tends to be cooler.
  • Best time to see Peru: The best time to see Peru is during its dry season, which is May through September, especially if you’d like to hike Machu Picchu or the Inca Trail. December to March can also be fun but will include frequent rain showers.
  • Best time to go to Argentina: Like South Africa, Argentina is a year-round destination. Winter is in July and August and features the coolest weather, however, it also tends to be most crowded then. Working with a travel advisor to plan your trip will ensure you get the most out of your vacation to Argentina.

 

Best Places to Visit in Africa and South America

Knowing when to go on an African safari is only one part of planning your dream vacation. Working with an experienced travel advisor is the best and easiest way to assemble an itinerary that fits your interests. Our travel advisors would love to help you explore the best that Africa and South America have to offer.

Contact one of our experienced travel advisors today to turn your dream South American vacation or African safari into a reality.

The Best Time to Visit Singapore and Other Asia Pacific Hot Spots

August 13, 2019 |

What’s the Best Time to Visit Singapore?

Any experienced travel advisor will tell you that the best time to visit Singapore and other Asia Pacific hot spots is during the dry season. That season may vary depending on which countries you visit. Literal southeast Asian hot spots like Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia are driest in November through February.

While it’s generally an all-year-round destination, the best time to go to Singapore is February through April. Other countries, such as island nations like Indonesia and Japan, are best seen in April through October and March through May, respectively.

All of this variance highlights the reality that the best time to visit Asia depends on where in Asia you want to go.

 

Best Time to Visit Singapore and Other Asia Pacific Destinations

As we’ve covered, there’s no one best time to visit Asia, at least not all of it. Working with an experienced travel advisor is a great way to make sure you take your vacation to Asia at the ideal time. 

Our travel advisors have journeyed extensively throughout Asia and know not only the best places to visit in Asia, but also the best times to see them. Here are our recommendations on the best time to visit Southeast Asia popular destinations:

  • Best time to go to Singapore: Really, any time is a good time to visit Singapore, but February through April tends to be a little drier.
  • Best time to visit Bali: Like many other places in southeast Asia, Bali has only two seasons — rainy and dry. April and October tend to be drier months, and therefore better times to visit.
  • Best time to see Japan: If you want to see Japan’s famed cherry trees in full blossom, the end of April is the best time to visit. Other excellent months include spring (March to May) and fall (September to November).
  • Best time to travel to Cambodia: Humidity can get quite high in Cambodia. Visiting during the drier months of November through April should bring some relief.
  • Best time to visit the Maldives: The best time to visit this island paradise is between December and April when it’s less likely to experience storms or adverse weather.
  • Best time to go to Tibet: Pleasant weather and warm, gentle breezes are typical of April through October in Tibet, so plan to visit then.

 

Best Places to Visit in Asia

Knowing when to go to Asia is only one facet of planning a vacation. Working with an experienced travel advisor is the best and easiest way to plan an itinerary that is both realistic and checks off all your boxes. Our travel advisors would love to help you explore the best food, hotels and sights in the best places to visit in Asia.

Contact one of our experienced travel advisors today to turn your dream vacation to Asia into a reality!

European Vacation 101: How a Travel Advisor Can Help You Plan a Trip to Europe

August 7, 2019 |

European Vacation 101: How to Plan a Trip to Europe

A European vacation is a dream for many travelers. Making that dream come true often comes down to proper planning, which is made much easier with the help of an experienced travel advisor. 

If you’re ready to embark on a European vacation, you likely have questions, such as when to go to Europe or how to plan a European vacation. Our travel advisors love helping people enjoy unforgettable European vacations. Here, we cover a few reasons for using our travel advisors to help plan a trip to Europe.

 

How to Plan a Trip to Europe — 5 Reasons to Work with a Travel Advisor

Traveling to Europe for the first time can feel overwhelming. Going into your trip prepared helps you avoid decisions that might detract from your enjoyment. Our travel advisors have spent years planning dream vacations to Europe for many travelers and know all the ins and outs of traveling to Europe. 

From knowing when to go to Europe to whether or not to take a cab from the airport and more, our advisors know how to make your European vacation a success. Here are five things we help travelers to Europe with every day. 

 

1. Our travel advisors help you decide where to go.

One of the most important factors in planning a trip to Europe is deciding where to go. Many of our advisors have traveled to Europe themselves and can make personal recommendations about cities and sights you’ll love.

 

2. Our travel advisors know when to go to Europe.

While you can go to Europe any time of year, we know that the best times to take a European vacation are in May, June and September, because prices tend to be more reasonable, weather is a bit better and crowds are thinner. These factors make those months an ideal time for a European vacation.

 

3. Our advisors tailor an itinerary to your personal priorities.

Based on what you want to see, our advisors put together a detailed itinerary with the ideal places to start and finish your trip as well as all the stops in between. With the perfect itinerary mapped out for you by an experienced advisor, you can relax knowing you’ll love every moment of a trip that has been tailored to your interests and priorities.

 

4. Our advisors make sure your passport and/or visa are valid.

Getting paperwork in order is one of the least glamorous aspects of planning a trip to Europe, but without the proper documents, your European vacation will never happen. Our travel advisors know that if you don’t have a passport, you need to allow four to six weeks from the time you apply to receive one and help you apply at the proper time. We’ll also check the expiration date of your passport or Visa to ensure it will still be valid during the time of your trip to Europe and, depending on which countries you visit, for at least six months after your trip is over.

 

5. Our advisors know when to recommend travel insurance.

While you might be tempted to write off travel insurance for your trip to Europe, our advisors know when it’s worth a second look. They help you see whether trip cancellation, flight cancellation or medical insurance makes sense for your trip. 

 

This list barely scratches the surface of the considerations involved in planning a trip to Europe. Get expert insight and care planning your European vacation. Let our travel advisors help you plan the trip of a lifetime!

What Fam Trips Are and How They Help Us Make Your Vacation Even More Amazing

July 31, 2019 |

What Fam Trips Are and How They Help Us Make Your Vacation Even More Amazing

Fam trips are one of the best ways for travel advisors to become more proficient in the field of travel. Fam trips, or familiarization trips, can be excellent opportunities for those who plan travel for others to get to know what various cruise, hotel, spa and flight experiences are like so they can make more educated recommendations to travelers. 

Far from a ‘free vacation,’’ fam trips are a lot of work, often involving long days and little free time. However, as our seasoned travel advisors understand, there’s simply no substitute for firsthand experience when it comes to travel planning. We send our travel advisors on fam trips so they gain the experience to make yours amazing.

Here’s what a few of our advisors have to say about what fam trips are and how they help them plan amazing vacations for others.

 

Fam Trips: How They Help Travel Advisors Plan Amazing Vacations

When travel advisors go on fam trips, they usually inspect every aspect of the experience so they can explain it to potential travelers and make recommendations based on the needs and interests of each person they help.

We asked two of our top travel advisors, Abby Bebout and Jenny Gilbertson, what they like about fam trips and what makes them worth the investment. 

“Fam trips allow advisors to experience what the client experiences when they travel,” says Bebout. “You tour properties to learn the ins and outs and sometimes even the behind-the-scenes, but you also experience the same food, service and amenities that a client would experience when traveling to that destination.”

Gilbertson adds that fam trips can help advisors improve the service they offer travelers. “Firsthand experience is the best way to learn the geography/location of the destination. After visiting a destination, it’s much easier to make satisfying recommendations.”

Cruise and resort fam trips are some of the best to take at improving the recommendations travel advisors can make because they allow advisors to experience the intricacies of those types of travel.

“Cruise and resort fams allow us to make a recommendation of what to do, where to go and how best to experience a specific ship or resort,” says Bebout. “Everything from being able to make a recommendation on what to order at the restaurants to who the best bartender is, or where to sit at the show for the best view are things that we experience during fam trips and can give feedback on first-hand.”

Gilbertson agrees, adding that seminars at sea provide an abundance of information on the cruising experience that can’t be gained any other way. “We usually tour the entire vessel as well as receive shore excursion information (and enjoy them like the travelers we help would), marketing ideas and the most current updates of the cruise line.”

 

What to Look for in a Fam Trip

Once travel advisors see the value in a fam trip, the next question becomes which fam trip to take. Our advisors say a good place to start is with places or experiences travelers are likely to desire or inquire about. 

“I like to experience fam trips based on what I sell and what is going to be beneficial to my clients,” says Bebout. “I would love to take every trip offered, but am I selling that destination or product? True experts are selective in what they choose to do and qualify trips based on experiences that will benefit those for whom they help plan vacations.” 

Gilbertson adds that small group fam trips or trips to places an advisor would not personally go can be beneficial. 

“I always look for a fam trip where I’ll experience what my clients look forward to. My idea of a fam trip is definitely NOT seeing ten properties in a day; visiting one to two with ‘experiences’ is what it’s all about,” she says. “Some of the most memorable fam trips I’ve experienced were an Azamara cruise from Barcelona to Roma and a visit to the Guanacaste region of Costa Rica.”

Travel advisors can maximize the value of fam trips by paying careful attention to specific things. “Take note of what’s included in the price, what transportation is provided and unique experiences you can share with clients upon return,” says Gilbertson. 

Bebout adds that being careful to evaluate everything will help advisors gain the most value from fam trips. “Keep track of what the flights were like and how the arrival process could have been easier. I can take a picture, but it’s likely the same picture that you can find online. What you can’t get from the website is how the service was at the resort. Another important thing to look at is room locations. What is the view like? Is there privacy? How close is the room next door? These are notes that a good advisor is taking to be sure they have all the information to pass along to colleagues and clients alike.”

 

Need help planning your next vacation?

Our experienced travel advisors would love to help you plan the perfect getaway. Reach out to us today!

5 Educational Vacations for Families

July 24, 2019 |

5 Educational Vacations for Families

Educational vacations help families learn while traveling. Some of the best learning is done when you can get out and explore areas of interest. If family travel means more to you than theme parks and relaxing, explore these five educational vacation destinations.

 

5 Educational Vacations for Families

The educational vacation destinations listed here will satisfy your craving for experiencing new and different people and places. Instead of exploring the world through a screen, you’ll get up close and personal with real life in different settings around the world.

 

1. Rome, Italy.

Rome, Italy | 5 Educational Vacations for Families

If ancient history interests you, family travel to Rome may be the best educational vacation destination for you. The Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon and Pompeii are just a few of the historic sites your family will enjoy visiting in Rome.

 

2. Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia.

Colonial Williamsburg, VA | 5 Educational Vacations for Families

If you’re more of an American History buff, you’ll love visiting Colonial Williamsburg. A living museum that lets you experience life in 18th century America is just one of the things that makes this one of the best educational vacations for families. 

 

3. London, England.

London, England | 5 Educational Vacations for Families

Dive into the culture of the country that spawned America with an educational vacation to London. Tour classic sites like the Tower of London and Parliament Building, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre or Churchill War Rooms. Whether you see a show on London’s West End or take a Warner Bros. Harry Potter Studio Tour, there’s plenty of magic to experience in London.

 

4. Iceland.

Iceland | 5 Educational Vacations for Families

Revisit the ancient world of the Vikings with an educational trip to Iceland. See an exact replica of a Viking ship; go whale watching; visit Thingvellir Park, home to the first Parliament; and experience the captivating power of significant geological sites like Gulfoss and Langjokull, home to an amazing ice cave and Europe’s second-largest glacier.

 

5. Paris, France.

Paris, France | 5 Educational Vacations for Families

From well-known landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and Notre-Dame Cathedral to the Louvre Museum, Sorbonne and Arc de Triomphe, there is more to see in Paris than can be squeezed into one educational vacation. Take your family to Paris and experience the sites that interest you most for your next family vacation.

 

Why We Plan Educational Vacations

Educational vacations are one of the best ways to immerse yourself in a place. Whether you partake in a culinary tour of Paris, go on a guided hike through an ice cave in Langjokull or decide to explore a destination not listed here, family travel is made better, not worse, with an educational vacation. 

Let our travel advisors help you plan the perfect family vacation. Reach out now to discuss your next educational vacation.

Planning a Family Vacation?

July 17, 2019 |

Planning a Family Vacation? Our Advisors Share Top Tips

Travel Advisors Share What to Pack and How to Plan a Family Vacation

There’s a lot to consider when it comes to planning a family vacation. What should I pack? Where should I go? Is an international family vacation possible? These are all common questions travelers ask. Our travel advisors have decades of experience helping families plan unforgettable vacations. 

We asked them to share their best tips on planning a family vacation with you. Here’s what they had to say.

 

Travel Advisors Answer Questions About Planning a Family Vacation

What do I pack?

What to pack is one of the most common questions travel advisors are asked by people planning a family vacation. Tara Nielsen-Rise, a travel advisor out of Omaha, says to be comfortable and practical.

“Don’t bring new shoes you’ve never worn. Be sure to keep things to do and snacks in your carry-on when flying,” she says. “Planes can be chilly so throw something in the carry on to accommodate for that if needed. If you’re going somewhere warm, bring a couple of swimsuits. You will likely get in and out of the water during the day and it gives one suit a chance to dry.”

Emily Voorn, a travel advisor with experience planning family vacations adds that it’s important to keep the climate in mind. “Packing changes depending on what season you are traveling in and what the weather will be like there. As soon as I help families pick a date and destination, I start researching what to pack.”

 

How do I decide where to go?

As Voorn alludes to above, figuring out the best destinations for a family vacation can be a tricky process. She likes to start answering that question with a question. 

“I like to ask people to ponder their interests,” she says. “If you are looking for sunny weather, Disney World in Orlando, Florida and Disneyland in California offer some really great fun in the sun family packages. If you want something outside the norm, the Caribbean Islands offer some all-inclusive family options worth looking at. The Bahamas and Punta Cana are both appealing destinations.”

 

What if I want to plan an international family vacation? What do I need to know before I go?

Another common question is around planning an international family vacation. Nielsen-Rise says not to overlook the obvious, but important point. “Everyone will need a passport. Some destinations require visas and/or vaccinations.”

Voorn backs that up, adding to make sure visas and passports have an expiration date of at least six months past your planned return date. “It’s good to make photocopies of your passport, in case you lose them in travel and need to apply for new ones at a U.S. embassy.” Voorn also recommends visiting the State Department’s website to check for travel advisements or restrictions for the countries you’re visiting.

“Before you go, check the State Department’s website for information about vaccinations and travel permits. If both legal parents aren’t traveling, you may need authorization from the absent parent.”

 

Do I need travel insurance?

The question of travel insurance often comes up around visas and passports. It’s an important one, which Nielsen-Rise often answers, ‘yes.’ 

“You never know what could happen prior to, or during travel,” she says. “If you are traveling internationally, many U.S. health insurance companies don’t cover you so the medical coverage alone is worth it.”

Voorn adds that travel insurance can guard against many unforeseen events. “The benefits of protecting your investment would be highly recommended as most insurance policies have a cancel-for-any-reason clause and when you’re planning a year or more into the future, you can never predict what is going to come up.”

After all their years helping plan family vacations, our travel advisors say they’ve seen a handful of things get overlooked time and again.

“We’re all ambitious when we plan a family vacation,” says Nielsen-Rise. “Don’t try to cram too many things into your itinerary. Part of the fun for kids can simply be swimming at the hotel. If the schedule gets too full, the vacation becomes more about checking things off a list than just sitting back and enjoying the moment. Quality over quantity can never be underestimated.”  

 

Are you planning a family vacation?

Don’t plan it alone! Get expert insight from our experienced travel advisors on picking the perfect destination and itinerary. Let us iron out all the details for your next family vacation. Contact us now to get started.

Flying with Kids? Survive Your Trip with These Tips

July 10, 2019 |

Flying with Kids? Survive Your Trip with These Tips

Flying with kids can be rough. Toddlers are about as unpredictable as airline travel. Still, following these tips for flying with kids will make your journey more enjoyable. 

 

Tips for Flying with Kids

Whether you’re traveling with a toddler prone to surprise sprints across the airport or flying with children who hate leaving home, there are a few tips you can follow to make your trip a little less painful. Here are our best tips for flying with kids!

 

Make it Fun

This tip may be hard to implement if you hate flying, but aside from that, if you make flying fun, chances are good your child will find it fun too. Talk about your travel beforehand and all the fun you’ll have flying. Kids often find amusement in simple things, so don’t be afraid to talk up the snacks and drinks on the plane. 

 

Don’t Worry About Screentime

Especially for older kids, if you are typically judicious about how much screen time you allow your children to enjoy at home, they will find hours of entertainment in getting to plug in on their flights. Once the pilot gives the green light for turning on portable devices, bust yours out and let your kids play games or watch TV. Don’t forget the headphones so other travelers don’t have to play along with your kids.

 

Throw Routine Out the Window

Along with the above tip, don’t stress over your normal routines flexing a bit during travel. If your child wants to take a nap off-schedule or stay up when she’s normally sleeping, roll with it. Focus on getting from A to B with as little fight as possible. Besides, he may have trouble sleeping when you arrive at your destination, and if he’s able to snooze a bit on the plane, you’ll be thankful for it. 

 

Bring Plenty to Do (and Eat)

Along with tablets and devices, one of the best tips for flying with kids is to pack some snacks, books, coloring pages and other quiet activities to help your child pass the time.  

 

Pack Extra Clothes for Everyone

You never know when an accident is going to happen. Sometimes a clean shirt or pair of shorts can make mom and dad, as well as your little ones, feel a lot better. When you’re packing an extra outfit for your kids, remember to throw in an extra shirt for yourself. 

 

Put a Tag on That

When you’re busy putting tags on your bags at home or when you arrive at the airport, don’t overlook putting a digital tag on your child. Bluetooth tracker tags make it possible for you to know the exact location of your bags and your kids. While you never want to become separated from your child, knowing you can look at your smartphone and see where she is will bring much-needed peace of mind. 

Looking for more help flying with kids or planning your next vacation? Our travel advisors are here to help! Reach out today for assistance with your next adventure.

Best Family Vacation Spots for Your Entire Clan

July 3, 2019 |

Best Family Vacations — 4 Top Spots for Your Next Trip

The best family vacations are ones where everyone from grandma to junior come home happy. Finding the best family vacation spots can be tricky, so we’re serving up some of the top family vacation ideas for you to consider as you think through your upcoming trip. 

 

Best Family Vacations — 4 Top Spots for Your Next Trip

Family vacations are wonderful opportunities to make lifelong memories. Whether or not those memories will be happy ones sometimes comes down to picking the best family vacation spots. With decades of experience helping families find the perfect backdrop for making happy memories together, we’ve put together a list of some of the top spots for your next trip.

 

1. Yellowstone National Park, WY

Yellowstone National Park, WY | Best Family Vacations

While everyone else is flinging sweaty elbows at each other in line for rides at Walt Disney World, escape the chaos and rejuvenate your souls connecting with nature at Yellowstone National Park. There’s nothing like watching Old Faithful erupt or seeing magnificent wildlife up close and in living color. Whether you want to rough it in a tent or enjoy nature from the comfort of a cabin, you’ll find plenty for the entire family to enjoy at this American gem.

 

2. San Diego, CA

San Diego, CA | Best Family Vacations

America’s finest city may have earned that moniker for its beautiful beaches, but its cuisine, growing arts scene and proximity to Los Angeles make it one of the best family vacation spots for your next trip. Whether you want to learn to surf or sunbathe on the beach, you can do it all in sunny San Diego. From its world-famous zoo to its equally famous fish tacos, you’ll have fun making memories together here. 

 

3. Gatlinburg, TN

Nestled in the Smoky Mountains of eastern Tennessee, this town feels like it was made for families. From hikes of all difficulty levels to amusement parks and aquariums, there’s much here for people of all ages to enjoy. Spend one day browsing artisan shops, watching hand-blown glass take shape and then spend another drinking in the beauty of the outdoors.

 

4. Honolulu, HI

Do you want to feel like you’re exploring a tropical escape without needing a passport? Hawaii could be the perfect spot for your clan. Some of the best family vacations are had in Oahu. With an endless stream of things to do and see, just make sure you stop and spend some time feeling the sand between your toes. 

Want help planning your next family vacation? Our travel advisors have more amazing ideas for you to consider. Let us help you plan a vacation every member of your family will enjoy.

12 Best Travel Apps to Download Before Your Next Trip

June 26, 2019 |

14 Best Travel Apps to Download Before Your Next Trip

The best travel apps help you make the most of every trip by simplifying currency exchanges, flying, packing, payment and understanding the local languages and cultures of your destinations.

Here are 14 of our favorite travel apps and what makes them so essential to enjoying your next vacation.

 

14 Best Travel Apps to Download Before Your Next Trip

The joy of travel is exploring new places, savoring new dishes, meeting fascinating people and embarking on unforgettable adventures. Your smartphone is the key to unlocking more wonder on your next trip. By simplifying packing, payment and everything in between, the best travel apps on your smartphone free you to do more savoring, exploring and delighting.

Here are 14 of the best travel apps to make your next trip easier to enjoy.

 

1. TripLingo The ultimate tool for international travelers, this app helps you learn essential phrases (including slang) in the local languages of the countries you visit. There’s also an intelligent tip calculator and currency converter, a Wi-Fi dialer that lets you call any U.S. number, an instant voice translator, a tip calculator, safety tools and much more. A free version includes basic access to all features in every language. Upgrade to a paid version for unlimited access to every feature in the extensive app. 

2. XE Currency — Calculate and convert every world currency in seconds. This is one of the best travel apps for international travel. Monitor up to 10 currencies at a time and easily convert any price into whatever currency you’d like. (This app is free!)

3. MyTSA The MyTSA app provides 24/7 access to the most frequently requested airport security information, right at your fingertips. Save time and money with helpful tips and info you need to know before getting in line at security. (Free.)

4. My Travel Suitcase Want to teach your children how to pack for a family vacation? This is one of the best travel apps for helping you do that and yes, it’s also free!

5. AroundME Quickly find the closest bank, bar, gas station, hospital, hotel, movie theater, restaurant, grocery store and more with this essential travel app. You’ll see a complete list of all the businesses in the category you select along with your distance from it in this (also free) app.

6. Mobile Passport — Speed through U.S. Customs and Border Protection at 20+ major U.S. airports and 1 U.S. cruise port with this helpful travel app. Officially authorized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Mobile Passport allows you to submit your passport control and customs declaration through your smartphone and bypass the regular line to enter the United States. (Free.)

7. Visit A City  Get access to 1000+ travel guides, created by experts, that help you explore things to see and do at your destination. With online and offline maps and itineraries tailored to your interests, this is one of the best (free) travel apps out there.  

8. WhatsApp Messenger  Want to talk to friends and family back home without incurring data charges? WhatsApp is one of the best travel apps for sending messages, making phone calls and even holding video chats when you’re traveling. All you need is an Internet or WiFi connection. (Free.)

9. TraffickCam Are you concerned about sex trafficking? This travel app lets you do something about it by taking photos of the hotel rooms you stay in while you travel. It creates a database of hotel room images that investigators can search to identify locations where ongoing investigations are already exploring. TraffickCam is also free.

10. Mom Maps Would you like to find kid-friendly places while you’re traveling? Mom Maps lets you search extensive lists of parks, playgrounds, restaurants, museums with reviews from other parents. Bookmark your favorite locations and view videos of some locations. Mom Maps costs $2.99 to download.

11. FlightView Elite — Get real-time flight information about upcoming and in-air flights with this essential travel app. View arrival and departure information for top airports; check gate assignments, delays and cancellations; use the flight map to view a flight’s progress; and more. Forward your itinerary confirmation emails and FlightView will automatically load them into your Trips. See your Trips across mobile devices and receive push notifications for them. View a North American airport delay map with radar weather overlay. If you travel frequently, this could be one of the best travel apps for you. FlightView Elite costs $3.99 to download.

12. Dash MobileDesigned specifically for Travel and Transport corporate clients, Dash Mobile syncs with work trips and allows you to import personal travel itineraries too. Dash Mobile includes local phrases and culture tips alongside travel updates, flight and hotel check-in, and even integrations with services like Lyft, Yelp, and Weather Underground.

 

Whether you’re traveling near or far, these best travel apps will help you take the stress out, and put more fun in, to your next trip. 

Want help planning your next vacation? Contact one of our experienced travel advisors now. We’d love to help you get the most out of your next trip.

Best All-Inclusive Resorts

June 20, 2019 |

Best All-Inclusive Resorts

The best all-inclusive resorts deliver stress-free vacations in beautiful spots around the world. For one flat rate, all-inclusive vacations typically include food, drink and lodging costs, putting everything you need right at your fingertips without the need to ring up a heap of receipts for your expenses.

Once you’re sold on the idea of all-inclusive travel, the next step is to decide where in the world you want to go. We caught up with two of our experienced travel advisors to pick their brains on the best all-inclusive resorts to visit.

 

Top Travel Advisors Dish on The Best All Inclusive Resorts

We asked two of our travel advisors who are experienced in helping travelers plan unforgettably satisfying all-inclusive trips to share their thoughts on a few questions commonly asked about the best all-inclusive resorts.

Andrea Kurschinski, who is based in our Ames, IA office says the best all-inclusive resorts have a few things in common. “The best all-inclusive resorts include a few critical features that make it easy to relax and enjoy the all-inclusive experience,” she says. “Those features include restaurants that don’t require reservations; preferred sections that are more quiet and less crowded; and no annoying wristbands.”

Another of our travel advisors, JoAnna Gonseth, who is based in our Omaha, NE office says what’s included in the price tag helps the best all-inclusive resorts stand out. “A luxurious and fun experience in a tropical setting are must-haves with an all-inclusive resort,” she says. “The best resorts for all-inclusive travel include meals (both a la carte and buffet), drinks, entertainment and non-motorized water sports without an additional charge.”

 

The Best All Inclusive Resorts in the Caribbean

According to Kurschinski, the best all-inclusive resorts for the money are in the Riviera Maya. “There are couples resorts with great service and excellent food, and excursions are included in your resort fee,” she says. “They also tend to be more casual, which can be attractive to travelers.”

Gonseth agrees and adds that a few islands stand out as offering more choices than others. “There are great resorts on almost all of the Caribbean Islands, but I would have to say that Jamaica offers some of the best choices,” she says.

 

Where to Find The Best Adults-Only All Inclusive Resorts

Kurschinski says Couples Negril stands out as an excellent option. Gonseth adds Secrets, Breathless and Excellence Resorts to that list. “They provide a stellar experience and have resorts at locations throughout the Caribbean.”

 

Some of the Best All Inclusive Resorts for Families

“If you’re looking for a fun, all-inclusive resort that your kids will enjoy,” says Kurschinski, “Beaches Negril and Paradisus Playa del Carmen La Esmeralda both fit the bill.” Gonseth adds that Grand Velas and Dreams deliver great experiences for families and are worth exploring.

Finding the best all inclusive travel resort for your next trip should be fun. Let our advisors remove all the stress by helping you plan your next trip. Reach out to one of our advisors today to start planning your all-inclusive vacation!

Group Travel Tips — Planning the Perfect Group Trip

June 12, 2019 |

Group Travel Tips — Planning the Perfect Group Trip

What could be more stressful than planning an exotic vacation? Many travelers would say planning a group travel trip to any destination — exotic or otherwise. With the right travel advisor on your side, group travel isn’t stressful — it’s a big party.

 

Top Group Travel Destinations

Great trips to take with groups can happen almost anywhere. You’re not limited to resorts or renting homes. With a skilled planner on your side, you can make lifetime memories with your family and friends at any of the following destinations.

 

Reykjavik, Iceland

Reykjavik, Iceland

Go on an adventure to remember exploring the magical landscapes of Iceland. The Golden Circle, Gullfoss waterfall, Thingvellir National Park and dreamy Blue Lagoon are a few of the sights your group will love seeing.

 

Montreal, Canada

Montreal, Canada

Feel like heading north without venturing quite so close to the arctic circle? Montreal may be more your style. This charming part of Canada delivers a European vibe without leaving North America. From the history of old Montreal to delectable dining and alluring nightlife, there’s something for everyone in your group to enjoy in Montreal.

 

Napa Valley, California

Napa Valley, California

Wine tasting, anyone? A popular group travel destination, Napa is ideal for a girls weekend, couples getaway or family reunion. With delicious food, spectacular wine and miles of vineyards, Napa provides a welcome retreat. Riding the Wine Train, taking in the Truffle Festival and taking a crash course in winemaking during Cabernet Season are all possibilities for your group to explore.

 

Cartagena, Colombia

Cartagena, Colombia

If binge-watching Narcos on Netflix has left your group with a lingering desire to take a tour of South America, Cartagena is a compelling option. Enjoy all the excitement without the danger exploring Cartagena’s bustling dining, dancing and coffee offerings. Miles of beaches, as well as heart-pumping activities, await.

 

Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville, Tennessee

Nestled in the heartland of America, Nashville is easy to get to and easy to enjoy. Family-friendly with a burgeoning art, food and bar scene to complement its legendary live music fame, Nashville is an excellent destination for group travel, whether your group is adults-only or filled with kids.

 

Get Help Planning the Perfect Getaway

Skip the haggling over hotels with your friends or fighting over food options with family. Let our experienced advisors help you find the perfect destination for your next group travel vacation.

Travel Tips: How to Go All In on All-Inclusive Travel

June 5, 2019 |

If your idea of a perfect getaway involves relaxing by the beach with a drink in your hand, an all-inclusive vacation may be right for you. Here, we dive into what all-inclusive travel is and travel tips on how to plan your all-inclusive retreat.

 

What Does All-Inclusive Mean?

Generally speaking, all-inclusive travel means you pay one fee upfront that includes your lodging, drinks and food. These resorts provide luxurious amenities that often include multiple pools, spas and private beaches as well as onsite dining venues.

Your food and drinks — including alcoholic drinks — at these onsite venues are included in the fee you pay upfront to stay at the resort. All-inclusive travel can be a carefree, indulgent way to take a trip. Before you go, however, you should know that not all experiences, dining, drinking or otherwise, are free at an all-inclusive resort.

 

All-Inclusive Travel Tips

Fantastic experiences such as a chef’s dinner, specialty drinks or drink tastings and spa treatments often come at an additional charge. So, whether you decide to stick to just what’s included in your all-inclusive resort fee, or splurge on a few upgrades while you’re there, you’re sure to have an enjoyable trip.

All-inclusive resorts are not all alike. Two resorts can both sound fantastic yet not deliver the experience you are looking for. Working with an experienced travel advisor can help ensure you get the best resort in the ideal location to suit your travel wants and needs.  

Our advisors make sure you know exactly what’s included, what’s extra and what’s expected from your ideal all-inclusive vacation before you go.

 

6 Fabulous All-Inclusive Resorts

Since all-inclusive resorts can be family-friendly or adult-only, we break out a few excellent options in each category below.

 

Family-Friendly Resorts

Majestic Colonial Punta Cana – the beach is walking distance from this family-friendly all-inclusive property. It offers more than 650 suites set in a classic, romantic style with upscale features like jetted tubs and marble bathrooms.

Hyatt Ziva, Cancun – Hyatt has a sister property, also in Cancun for adults-only, the Hyatt Zilara, and both properties offer luxurious beachside resorts with multiple pools, amenities, activities, dining options and spacious suites.

St. James’ Club Morgan Bay, St. Lucia – with 22 acres to explore, there’s something at this all-inclusive resort for every member of your family to enjoy. Four pools, six restaurants, water sports and a decked out kids club are just a few of the highlights.

 

Adults-Only Resorts

The only thing these all-inclusive resorts are missing is the kids. Relax and unwind or let loose and go wild at these fantastic all-inclusive resorts.

Excellence Playa Mujeres, Cancun – with seven pools, 11 bars and nine dining options, you’re sure to find something tasty to eat and drink at this adults-only all-inclusive resort. There’s a full-service spa onsite along with archery, bike tours, beach volleyball and many other activities.

The Caves, Negril, Jamaica – perched upon the pristine cliffs of Jamaica, The Caves is a stunning all-inclusive resort that will make you feel like you’ve escaped to paradise. Sip rum in a private grotto bar, jump into the Caribbean Sea from jagged outcroppings or relax in your private cottage.

Komandoo Maldives Island Resort, Maldives – if you’ve been dreaming of taking an island retreat in a bungalow style resort, you’ll love this option. Situated on a private island, you’ll enjoy stepping outside your private hut for sushi-making, live music, dancing and powder-white sandy beaches.

 

Get Help Planning Your All-Inclusive Trip!

Have you been day-dreaming about a resort vacation? Stop dreaming and start doing! Our experienced travel advisors would love to help you plan the perfect getaway. Reach out to us today to start planning your trip!

Exploring Wellness Retreats: 6 Places to Nourish Your Body, Mind and Soul

May 29, 2019 |

Exploring Wellness Retreats: 6 Spots to Nourish Your Body, Mind and Soul

Planning a wellness retreat? You’re not alone. The Global Wellness Institute found wellness tourism reached $639 billion in 2017. That’s a trend we see as well in our work booking amazing vacations and wellness retreats for travelers.

If you’re looking for a place where you can nourish your body, mind and soul, these six spots won’t disappoint.

 

6 Ideal Locations to Take a Wellness Retreat

A wellness mindset is making its way around the globe. Everywhere, people are looking for a way to unplug, unwind and rejuvenate both body and soul. If you’re like many travelers today, you’re looking for more than a gym or massage; you want a wellness retreat. Here are six excellent locales to enjoy one.

 

1. COMO Shambhala Estate, Bali

If rafting, yoga, hiking, onsite nutritionists and an Ayurvedic doctor are essential elements you want in a wellness retreat, the COMO Shambhala Estate in Bali won’t disappoint. Musician John Legend and his family took a restorative wellness retreat there and raved.

 

2. Hotel Joaquin, Laguna Beach, California

Nestled in Shaw’s Cove, Hotel Joaquin is a little piece of historic Europe tucked away in bustling Los Angeles. With 22 rooms, there’s a laid back vibe infused in everything from surfing to private yoga, all of which are offered onsite.

 

3. Sha Wellness Clinic, Alicante, Spain

The owner of this wellness retreat designed it to evoke a superyacht, surrounded by nature, docked in the calm shores of the Mediterranean Sea. If total mind and body transformation suits you, you’ll find it at the Sha Wellness Clinic, where you can enjoy acupuncture, vegan cuisine, tai chi, laughter therapy and so much more.

 

4. Miraval Austin Resort & Spa, Austin, Texas

Overlooking serene Lake Travis, the Miraval Austin Resort & Spa encourages mindfulness, imagination and personal growth. At this intriguing wellness retreat, you can immerse yourself in anything from gratitude to literature.

 

5. Rancho La Puerta, Tecate, Mexico

One of the world’s original wellness retreats, Rancho La Puerta is still one of the best. About an hour south of San Diego, California, this wellness retreat is accessible and yet refreshingly remote. Enjoy detox and cleansing retreats designed to reduce inflammation along with pilates, pickleball and plenty more. One traveler loves it so much she’s been there 39 times and counting.

 

6. Eaton DC, Washington, D.C.

Is it possible to escape to a wellness retreat in the center of one of the busiest cities in the world? The Eaton DC thinks so. With a mindfulness hub, creative collaboration space, activated charcoal shots and a meditation room inspired by Zen Buddhist temples, you can find your escape right in the heart of the city.

Looking for help planning your ideal wellness retreat? Our experienced travel advisors would love to help you find the perfect spot. Reach out today for more wellness retreat ideas and itineraries.